8 Oil-Slick Nail Ideas for the Perfect Edgy Summer Mani

Close up of a foil oil-spill mani


Spring and summer are often considered the time for fresh, bright manicures, but that doesn't mean you can't rock darker hues during the warmer seasons. The trick is painting your nails in a way that nods toward the colors of the seasons while maintaining the edgy allure you crave. One way to do so is by embracing the oil-slick nail trend.

What Are Oil-Slick Nails?

Oil-slick nails are a type of manicure that mimics the appearance of an oil spill. While oil is known to be dark and thick, in the right light, it also has swirls of color throughout. Similarly, oil-slick nails have an overall darker appearance featuring bright pops of color in direct sunlight.

Most often, oil-slick nails are created with holographic nail polish or foil. Although the technique can be challenging to execute at home, many professional nail artists are well-versed in the trend. So, if you're looking for photo inspo to take to your next nail appointment, we've got you covered. Ahead, find eight oil-slick nail ideas.

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Oil-Slick Swirl

Oil Slick Swirl


One of the best things about oil-slick nails? It's one manicure trend that looks great on all nail shapes and lengths.

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Geometric Oil Spill

Geometric Oil Spill


Oil-slick nail art is very bold, so even opting for a few swatches of the multicolor accents will make a statement. Case in point? This gorgeous geometric oil-spill mani that we want to copy stat. And those tiny gold studs? What a chic addition.

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Mismatch Oil-Slick Nails

A holographic mismatch manicure


Here, nail artist Brittney Ellen took the holographic polish route to create her oil-slick nails. Specifically, she used Lights Lacquer Nail Polish ($11) in the shade Tuxedo Mask topped off with Beetles Gel Polish Holographic Chrome Nail Powder ($15).

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Foil Oil-Slick Nails

A foil oil slick manicure with iridescent colors


Another way to create an oil-slick mani is with holographic multicolor nail foil. Ellen used the Cirque Colors Oil Slick Nail Art Transfer Foil Set ($13) to perfect this look.

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Marble Oil Slick

Close up of a foiled oil-slick mani


The Cirque Colors Oil Slick Nail Art Transfer Foil Set comes with two types of foil, enabling you to create myriad looks. Here, nail artist Samantha Jade used them over Mooncat Nail Lacquer ($13) in the shade Emo For Life.

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Peachy Green Oil Slick

Peachy-green oil-slick nails with checkerboard detailing


Not all oil-slick nails have to be black or dark gray, nor must they feature a rainbow of hidden colors. This holographic greenish-peach chrome mani from Paintbox evokes images of oil spills while also checking the box of the year's much-beloved checkerboard trend.

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Oil-Slick Almond-Shaped Nails

Almond nails with a black base and oil-slick nail art


While many oil-slick manicures are crowned with a glossy top coat, this set demonstrates how bold a matte finish looks.

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All-Over Oil Slick

Allover Oil Slick Nails


Looking to achieve an all-over oil-slick nail look without added accents or statement French tips? Mooncat (formerly Live Love Polish) offers many formulas that fit the bill. Try the brand's Nail Lacquer in Cruel Mirage ($15) or Dragon Scales ($14).

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